cover image My Brother, Muhammad Ali: The Definitive Biography

My Brother, Muhammad Ali: The Definitive Biography

Rahaman Ali with Fiaz Rafiq. Rowman & Littlefield, $28.95 (384p) ISBN 978-1-5381-4244-8

Arguably no one knew Muhammad Ali (1942–2016) better than his brother, as Rahaman Ali proves in this astute account of the world boxing champion’s life. From their childhood in Jim Crow–era Louisville, Ky., to Muhammad Ali’s early Olympic triumph and his glorious professional career, the younger brother reveals his elder sibling’s overly generous manner with family and fans. Ali takes readers behind the scenes of Ali’s draft fight, the aftermath of his first defeat by Frazier in 1971, his epic battles with Sonny Liston and George Foreman, his Hollywood forays, and his womanizing and divorces. An added bonus: Ali’s access to his brother’s complex relationship with the Nation of Islam, with revelations about his abrupt parting with Malcolm X, when the boxer was forced to “choose sides” in disputes within the organization; his financial woes with manager Jabir Herbert Muhammad; and his adoration of Herbert Muhammad’s father, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. Though “boxing was just a platform,” Ali writes, his brother was “the chosen one to unite people through love, peace and respect.” Ali’s candor may irk some, but instead of milking the Champ’s well-worn myth and hype, Ali offers an intimate, bittersweet remembrance. This is a great addition to the literature about one of the 20th century’s towering figures. (Oct.)